Federal government seeks review of concentrated caffeine products

The parents of Blackheath man Lachlan Foote have welcomed federal government plans to review concentrated caffeine products after the NSW Coroner found their son died from caffeine toxicity.

"It's very encouraging to hear of the immediate response from the government in regard to the regulation of pure caffeine powder," Mr Foote said in a statement following the announcement by the Minister for Youth and Sport, Richard Colbeck, and Minister for Health, Greg Hunt.

They have written to Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) requesting formal advice on the safety of caffeine powders and high caffeine content products.

"We are grateful to Ministers Richard Colbeck and Greg Hunt for taking our concerns to the relevant food authorities so promptly," said Mr Foote.

"Dawn and I would like to thank everybody who shared my Facebook post on Sunday which brought the issue to the attention of the media in the first place."


Lachlan Foote died unexpectedly on new year's day 18 months ago, the day before his 22nd birthday.

He had returned home to Blackheath about 1.45am after a few drinks celebrating new year's eve with friends in Katoomba. Lachlan gave his mum Dawn a hug and wished her a happy new year before making himself a protein shake. He told his friends in a Facebook message that his protein shake tasted bitter, and then went to the bathroom, where he blacked out and never regained consciousness, dad Nigel Foote told the Gazette in January 2018.

The family has learned that Lachlan likely added too much pure caffeine powder to the protein shake, probably obtained from a friend or colleague, as there was no trace of purchased caffeine powder on bank statements.

"A teaspoon is lethal, the equivalent of 25-50 coffees," Mr Foote said. "It appears the pure caffeine powder was bought by someone else and shared, so it's very likely that Lachlan never got to read the warning label on the packet and was unaware of its potency."

Too much of the caffeine powder can trigger an overdose or a heart attack.

News of the coroner's verdict, released last week, garnered widespread coverage for the risks associated with pure caffeine powder.

"We would also like to thank the Blue Mountains Gazette, Channel 9's A Current Affair, Channel 7's Sunrise and their associated digital news channels for their accurate and sensitive coverage of the story," said Mr Foote. "Plus the Daily Telegraph, the Sydney Morning Herald and the dozens of online news services both here and overseas. How quickly this has developed in three days! We are uplifted by this news."